Play with words


The mission of the Phillips’ Mill Community Association (PMCA) is to promote the arts and preserve the artistic and cultural heritage of Bucks County. PMCA is committed to the active endorsement of the tenets of diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of what we do as an organization and for all program participants.

In harmony with that mission, the Phillips' Mill Drama established Play with Words, a juried one-act youth playwright competition for students in grades 6 to 12.

Congratulations to our Winners

Join us on March 12 at 3 pm as we celebrate young playwriting talent. Students who submitted a selected play will see them produced in a reading on the Mill stage. Visit the Phillips' Mill events calendar for more info.

Matilda Bray

Matilda Bray is an 11th-grade student at the Solebury School who published her first book of poetry, “Under the Moon as my Sun,” in 2018. The book was featured on PhillyCam for the 2019 Philly Loves Poetry Interview and Reading Series. Moonstone Press will publish Bray’s second full-length collection, “When You Wanted Blue,” in the spring of 2023. Her work has been published in Rattle, Tipton Poetry Journal, Sad Girls Club, OpenDoor Magazine, the Schuylkill Valley Journal, River Poets Journal and the Moonstone Poets Anthology. Matilda, who regularly competes at open poetry competitions, is a voracious reader and cross-country runner, who resides in Bucks County, PA, with her family and beloved dog, Tuck. "I would love to thank Sarah May, Peter Ammirati and Don Kaplan, who are all teachers at Solebury School that made this contest known," notes Matilda.

Maria Kesisoglou

Maria Kesisoglou is a sophomore at New Hope-Solebury High School. She has taken on all sorts of creative endeavors, from music to graphic design, and is proud to present her first play, “Roll Over Beethoven,” written with her good friend and partner in crime, Maeve Sheehan.

Gracie Lin

Gracie Lin, age 12, attends Princeton Day School, where she enjoys her English and math classes, as well as playing the cello in the school orchestra. “Our Blue Period” is her first introduction to playwriting. Gracie also plays the piano as an extracurricular. Outside of school, she likes drawing, playing games and talking to her friends. Besides writing, she mainly focuses on visual art, and takes art classes after school. She was recommended for this competition by her former humanities teacher, Angharad Rebholz, and was excited to participate in it.

Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan is a sophomore at New Hope-Solebury High School. Though “Roll Over Beethoven” is her first venture into playwriting, her theater experience includes the Bucks County Playhouse Youth Company’s production of “Dream Awake,” as well as her high school theater club’s productions of “Puffs,” “Mamma Mia!” “Twelfth Night” and the upcoming “Mean Girls.” Besides writing and acting, Maeve loves historical sewing, reading, and playing the cello and piano.


The Play with Words Youth Playwriting Challenge encourages youth from diverse backgrounds and abilities to craft original works for the stage by offering the opportunity for a staged reading as well as expert commentary prepared by the competition jurists. By inviting students to engage in the creative process, we hope to enhance personal responsibility and self-esteem, cultivate joy in learning, promote creative thinking and improve literary skills.

Following the success of our Emerging Playwright Competition, it was a natural progression to expand this movement to students in our community and welcome original works for consideration. Our vision is for all youth to learn to express themselves through the arts which will foster positive, active community members who find success, creativity, confidence and acceptance.

The first 50 submissions received during the acceptance period (October 15, 2022 - January 31, 2023) were considered. Our distinguished panel of judges evaluated all scripts and selected the winners. Each winning entry will receive a $50.00 cash prize, a staged reading before a live audience at Phillips’ Mill on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. and an opportunity to direct their staged reading.

Contest Rules

  • All work must be original, unpublished and not previously produced on a stage (EXCEPT in a workshop or educational setting). The playwright(s) submitting the work must have sole and exclusive rights to publish and perform it. The work must not infringe on any copyright.
  • Participants must fall into one of three categories: 6th to 8th grades, 9th to 10th grades, or 11th to 12th grades. They must be currently enrolled in a public, private, charter or home school.
  • Playwrights must attend school within a 25-mile radius of Phillips' Mill Community Association.
  • Playwrights under the age of 18 are asked to provide consent from a parent or guardian to participate. An e-signature consent is attached to the submission form.
  • Copyright of all works submitted remains with the author.
  • Playwrights may submit one play only.
  • Entries must not exceed 12 pages and should have a running time of 10 minutes or less with 2 to 4 characters. If the script does not comply with these rules, it will not be considered for competition.
  • Scripts should follow standard play formatting as outlined in the American Standard Playwriting Format. At the least: one-inch margins, 12-point font, character names capitalized, stage directions in italics, and page numbers included. For more information, please follow this link to American Standard Playwriting Format:
  • Scripts must be appropriate for a General Audience, PG-13.
  • Scripts must not include any form of identification, only the entry number provided by the playwright to our website. (See instructions below.)
  • Scripts should include a character breakdown.
  • Please thoroughly proofread and time your script.
  • Playwrights must be available to attend a staged reading on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at 3:00 p.m.
  • Preliminary rehearsal dates are scheduled for Wednesday, March 8, and Thursday, March 9, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. at Phillips’ Mill. Playwrights may attend these rehearsals if they wish, but it is not mandatory. Playwrights who intend to direct their staged reading must attend.

Entry Fee

There is no entry fee for this competition. We ask only that you bring us your best work and enjoy the experience!


Entries must be received during the period of October 15 – January 31, 2023, at midnight. Complete the online entry form below starting October 15. You will provide a six-digit number of your own choosing. This is your entry number. This ensures that your work will be judged anonymously. The site will not accept submissions after 50 scripts have been received.

  1. Submit your script as a PDF file, using the unique entry number as the only identification of the author and as the name of the file.
  2. Once ready, you'll upload your submission using the entry form available on this page as of October 15th.
  3. Proofread your form and click on “Submit.”
  4. Once the transaction is complete, you will receive an email confirmation of your entry details. Please note: If you do not receive your confirmation, please check your spam folder, in case it ends up there.

If you do not have access to a computer, arrangements can be made to accommodate your submission. Please contact Beth Walker at (843) 566-3761.


Judges will provide commentary on all submitted works.

Each winning entry will receive a $50.00 cash prize, a staged reading of their work and an opportunity to direct their staged reading. Co-authored plays will receive only one cash prize to be shared by the authors.

  • PMCA will select directors and actors for the staged readings.
  • Winning playwrights must attend the staged readings on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at 3:00 PM, and participate in the moderated discussion with the audience after the readings.
  • Please note: the performance is a staged reading, not a production.
  • Parents, caregivers, families and friends are encouraged to attend.
  • In the event of inclement weather, all activities will move to the following week. An announcement will be made on the website if a weather delay is advised.

Submissions are Closed

Please check back next year for another chance to submit your work.


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Illustration of the Phillips' Mill -Artist: Kathie Jankauskus